Joe Perry insists he relished the occasion and gave a good account of himself despite exiting the Welsh Open at the semi-final stage last weekend.
The Chatteris cueman came into his last-four clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan as a heavy underdog and despite battling valiantly, ultimately went down 6-3 at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
Perry had had a largely uninspiring season going into the Welsh Open but he looked back to his best during a week that saw him beat the likes of Ken Doherty, Judd Trump and Ben Woollaston en route to the semi-finals.
The 41-year-old ran eventual winner O’Sullivan closer than anyone else at the Welsh Open and is convinced the way he equipped himself against the five-time world champion bodes well for the rest of the season.
“You can get carried away with the big jamboree of it all and if you don’t embrace it and enjoy it, you can get swallowed up out there,” said Perry.
“I stuck to my word. I went for it and took the game to him but he’s just playing too well at the minute.
“There are definitely positives for me to take. I didn’t come here in great form but I came here in good spirits and got a good few wins under my belt.
“I had a good run and gave Ronnie a good run in the semi-final, so there is plenty to look forward to. I’m a little bit disappointed, but I’m pleased with the account I gave of myself.”
A majestic 139 in frame two and a fluent 92 in the fourth ensured that Perry went into the mid-session interval at 2-2 although O’Sullivan edged ahead with a century of his own in frame five.
The world number 10 then looked set to level the match at 3-3 before suffering a stroke of bad luck to leave no pot on after splitting the pack and he insists that was a key moment.
“I’m not saying I would have gone on to win but I was really unlucky when I went into the pack at 3-2 because I hit them perfectly, but they all covered each other,” added Perry.
“It looked for all the world that I was going to make it 3-3 and I still would have been a big underdog, but I’m right in the match and he’s under pressure a little bit.
“He’s still in great form though to be fair - I gave it everything but it wasn’t quite enough.”
O’Sullivan came from 5-2 down to beat Australian Neil Robertson 9-5 in the final. He picked up the top prize of £60,000. Perry won £20,000.
Next up for Perry is the Gdynia Open in Poland. he plays his first match on Saturday (February 27).
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